Come Try My Hellmouth On


Front package designs for the complete-series DVD sets of 'Buffy', in deep red with ornate black type, and 'Angel', in blueish purple with ornate silver/gray type.
Package art to the Angel and Buffy DVD boxed sets TM and © 2010 Twentieth Century Fox.

Of all the posts I couldn't publish this past week, the most time-sensitive one regards Nikki Stafford's imminent Great Buffy Rewatch.

I'd made the odd remark both here and on her blog, Nik at Nite, that when Lost wrapped up we should try to keep the gang there together through some dedicated event because the community of commenters that built around that show on that website was sensational. A new favorite or favorites might pop up, sure, but Nikki, whose blog was an outgrowth of her popular Finding 'Lost' books, had earlier penned episode guides to Alias, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Buffy spinoff Angel, all of which seemed like ripe candidates for a comprehensive rewatch; as a bonus, Nikki would make some extra coin from those of us who didn't yet own the books. Almost as soon as I (and others) began suggesting it, I started twitching at the likely time commitment, but here we are with the project a reality and I can't wait to dive in.

Nikki's schedule calls for three episodes per week most weeks to get through the entire 7-season, 144-episode series in a calendar year. If you throw in Angel, which crossed over with Buffy on occasion before Buffy left the WB network for UPN, you add 110 more episodes, which Nikki understandably found unworkable. However...

As long as I'm rewatching Buffy, I want to watch all of Angel in properly concurrent fashion — its first season launched with Buffy's fourth and it ran for one more season, its fifth, after Buffy ended. That just feels right and, besides, I've actually never seen the early seasons of Angel, so I'll be filling in that gap in my teleliteracy (with a tip of the hat to David Bianculli via media critic and friend Johanna Draper Carlson, who years ago lent me his book of that name) for its own sake even as I undoubtedly learn things that will put Buffy in greater perspective.

Just to be clear on one thing: This is a considerable undertaking purely in terms of watching the shows, especially once Angel kicks in, not to mention writing about them. While I'd love to record the experience here, since goodness knows when I'll end up rewatching the series again — and my experience discussing Lost online at Nikki's left me with a desire to keep hold of my own copious commentary for posterity — I don't know when I'll able to write or publish to the blog, so at this point further Vampire Slayer diaries here born of my rewatch experience and reactions to Nikki's own posts appear unlikely.

Just to be clear on another thing: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel are in my opinion some of the funniest, the most moving, the best television — some of the best popular fiction — ever created, and that is not an insignificant thing unless your head is hopelessly stuck in the sand regarding the potential of television and popular fiction in general. Like periodical comics, unlike their respective brethren of standalone graphic novels/albums/memoirs and films, television series work against tight, recurrent deadlines and other constraints that understandably mark them as disposable and at best addictive because of their constancy rather than their inherent quality. Yet television can be as much art as entertainment even by a restrictive definition of the term, and Joss Whedon's Sunnydale saga surely qualifies. Anyone who hasn't tasted these confections, which nourish the heart and soul to surprising degree, couldn't do better than to start now, with a caveat to not judge the entire enterprise by the low budgets and growing pains of its earliest efforts.

I wrote about my introduction(s) to Buffy the Vampire Slayer back in June, and a fresh look at the movie that started it all should be up before the Great Buffy Rewatch begins next Tuesday.

2 comments:

Rebecca T. said...

I really can't wait for this to start, even though the time thing could be an issue for me as well. But I'm really excited to rewatch them, having just watched them for the first time not too long ago. Naomi and I are in S6 of Buffy and 3 of Angel still working through and I was really hoping to finish before the rewatch started. Oh well. But the most fun will be discussing it with all of you guys! Happy New Year!

El Qué said...

Man, I wish I could watch with you, but I will at least try to follow along. The distraction will be good for my "heart and soul" (very nice remarks, BTW). Have fun!